Russia successfully promotes its narratives to Western media – Voice of America

Дата: 30 June 2024
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Experts say the Russian Federation is successfully promoting its narratives in Western media, shifting topics and distorting the perception of its aggressive war to blame Ukraine, according to Voice of America.

Experts demonstrated how the Russian Federation promotes misleading narratives of events in Crimea: Western media often pick up the Kremlin’s quotes instead of covering the essence of the events in Russia’s war against Ukraine.

For example, observers drew attention to the coverage of the usage of US weapons by the Ukrainian Armed Forces in a strike on the Space Surveillance and Communications Centre in temporarily occupied Crimea.

This strike, confirmed by Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, allowed Ukraine to neutralise an important military component of the satellite communications and navigation system that helped Russians target civilian targets in peaceful cities.

However, a number of leading Western media outlets quoted the Russian side, which emphasised the injured holidaymakers on the beaches of the Russian-occupied Ukrainian peninsula at the time of the attack.

The BBC, The Guardian, and CNN were among the publications that reported the incident in this light.

At the same time, German columnist Jürgen Nauditt noted that Russia is changing its messages, refuting itself. 

Fabian Hoffmann, a researcher at the University of Oslo in Norway and an expert on combat missiles, drew journalists’ attention to the fact that the footage in the video “looks nothing like a purposeful attack, and very clearly is the result of … interception”.

“Tourists were lucky,” Hoffmann writes, “that only a few M74 bomblets ended up detonating around the beach and most  [detonated] in the water. Otherwise, this could have been a bloodbath.”

Joe Lindsley, a journalist for Chicago’s WGN Radio, who broadcasts daily from Ukraine, demonstrated in his video on X (formally Twitter) how English-language media, copying Russian headlines, focused on the loss of life of people holidaying on sovereign Ukrainian territory seized by Russia, rather than the neutralisation of a strategic military facility that allowed Russians to kill Ukrainian civilians daily.


“A different, negative story dominated the headlines. Here’s how Russia steers an unthinking media,” Lindsley writes.

He emphasises that the people were killed by the remnants of Russian air defense systems, not by American weapons launched by Ukrainians. At the same time, the American journalist says, these media do not mention the Ukrainians whom Russians deliberately killed in peaceful Kharkiv.

“Where are the headlines about the civilians Russia killed in Kharkiv just a few days before? […] Where are the headlines about Ukraine’s great success, using precise American weapons to hit the places from which Russia attacks free people?” Lindsley said.

Media Center Ukraine focuses on assisting foreign journalists and understanding what topics interest them. According to Olha Atamanova, its Strategic Director, the Media Center study showed that the percentage of journalists who contacted the organisation to inquire about Crimea is very low.

The study also revealed an increase in propaganda materials in the English-language media on the eve of the Russian elections. The experts concluded that it was during this period that the Russian propaganda machine spent more money on promoting its “truth.”

The main topics concerning Crimea that receive the most coverage in foreign media include the general course of hostilities, the geopolitical context of the war, and the course of hostilities in the occupied peninsula itself.

“Unfortunately, only 5% of the total number of materials by foreign journalists concerned political prisoners and Crimean Tatars. It is worth noting that Crimean Tatars were most often mentioned in the context of Jamala or the appointment of Defense Minister Umerov,” Atamanova added.

Earlier Ukrainian media organisations strongly condemned pressure and threats against Ukrainain journalists of Texty, including from a side Senator J. D. Vance, U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz, Director of the Ron Paul Institute Daniel McAdams, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. On June 6, 2024, Texty published a study titled “American Swings: From Trumpists to Communists, Who and How Advocates for Halting Aid to Ukraine.”
The study analysed the political, media, and expert environment in the United States, which influences decision-making about further support for Ukraine in the Russian-Ukrainian war. The study contains a list of organisations and individuals in the U.S. who oppose supporting Ukraine.
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